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Velvet Coats and Manicured Nails: The Body Speaks Resistance in Dust Tracks on a Road

Velvet Coats and Manicured Nails: The Body Speaks Resistance in Dust Tracks on a Road Velvet Coats and Manicured Nails: The Body Speaks Resistance in Dust Tracks on a Road by Tanya Y. Kam Zora Neale Hurston’s supposed opposition to making race pol- itics an integral part of her texts has caused critics and literary figures from her time to the present to brand her as a race traitor and a sell- out. Richard Wright condemned Hurston’s writing for lacking activism and pandering to the whims of white Americans. In a 1934 review of Their Eyes Were Watching God, Wright charged that the novel “carries no theme, no message, no thought,” that it was merely a “minstrel tech- nique” whose objective was to make white folks laugh (qtd in Washing- ton 18). Hurston’s autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942), was also criticized by many reviewers who felt that Hurston idealized the rela- tionship between white and black folks without an appropriate critique of race relations. Harold Preece’s 1943 review denounced Dust Tracks on a Road as “the tragedy of a gifted, sensitive mind, eaten up by an egotism fed on the patronizing admiration of the dominant world”; even long- time Hurston admirer Alice Walker commented on its lack of account- ability, writing that http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

Velvet Coats and Manicured Nails: The Body Speaks Resistance in Dust Tracks on a Road

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 42 (1) – Jan 27, 2010

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

Velvet Coats and Manicured Nails: The Body Speaks Resistance in Dust Tracks on a Road by Tanya Y. Kam Zora Neale Hurston’s supposed opposition to making race pol- itics an integral part of her texts has caused critics and literary figures from her time to the present to brand her as a race traitor and a sell- out. Richard Wright condemned Hurston’s writing for lacking activism and pandering to the whims of white Americans. In a 1934 review of Their Eyes Were Watching God, Wright charged that the novel “carries no theme, no message, no thought,” that it was merely a “minstrel tech- nique” whose objective was to make white folks laugh (qtd in Washing- ton 18). Hurston’s autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942), was also criticized by many reviewers who felt that Hurston idealized the rela- tionship between white and black folks without an appropriate critique of race relations. Harold Preece’s 1943 review denounced Dust Tracks on a Road as “the tragedy of a gifted, sensitive mind, eaten up by an egotism fed on the patronizing admiration of the dominant world”; even long- time Hurston admirer Alice Walker commented on its lack of account- ability, writing that

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jan 27, 2010

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